Councillor Margaret Squires. A farmer’s wife from Crediton. How lovely – a jolly daughter-of-the-earth type no doubt. But councillor material?
Cllr Squires was a member of the Scrutiny Committee that was asked to review the decision to close 20 residential care homes. During the 3 hour committee meeting, the aim of which was to ensure a good decision had been made, Cllr Squires said nothing. Zip, zilch, nada, nothing. What was she thinking about these closures? She did a grand job of occupying a chair – that’s pretty much all you can say. To be fair, she did appear to be awake the whole time.
As her constituents, we emailed her in May to ask whether she supported these closures. We received the following auto-response:
“Sorry but I am unavailable by email until further notice. If you wish to contact me, phone me on Tel: 01363 84337”
Unavailable by email? We wrote her a letter instead, but received no reply. Like her fellow councillors she seems to feel unaccountable.
In researching Councillor Margaret Squires, you don’t find much. Perhaps not the type to work tirelessly for her community it seems – or if she does she’s hiding her light under a big stack of bushels. We fully understand that she’s just a (just about) self-propelled, (vaguely) human-shaped warm body put up by the local Tories to do very little about a whole bunch of stuff most people don’t care about anyway. She does a very effective job at keeping chairs warm and raising her hand when told to do so. Our local rural broadband action group is hoping to get her support. Don’t waste your time people – Cllr Squires can’t manage email let alone have a useful view on minimum ADSL/fibre service provision in a rural environment. Margaret – what do you think the target should be for 2016? a) 2kbps; b) 2mbps; c) 20mbps; d) 20blips? You can’t phone a friend or ask the audience.
Update: Cllr Squires commented as follows to a question on why she said nothing at the committee meeting:
“I listened to all that was said at the scrutiny meeting, had I felt I had anything to contribute I would have spoken. I believe as a member of scrutiny I am there to make sure that the appropriate action is taken. In this case I believe it was.”
We couldn’t have said it better ourselves. Margaret had nothing useful to say. Her mind was made up before the meeting started and, we suspect, without having actually reviewed any evidence. Thank you for that. There’s an old saying that seems apposite here: “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt.”